London Grammar

Truth Is a Beautiful Thing

Metal & Dust/Columbia

Jun 09, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

London Grammar gained prominence in 2013 with a memorable appearance on Disclosure's debut album Settle, followed by their debut album If You Wait. The trio is immediately recognizable by its best trait: frontwoman Hannah Reid's dusky, expressive powerhouse of a voice. The music that surrounds her is comfortable and warm; it's dream-pop of a particularly spacious, expansive variety. Whereas their first album kept things a touch too refined, on their long-awaited sophomore release Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, Reid and company enhance their songcraft to stunning, impressive effect.

The first thing to note about Truth Is a Beautiful Thing is that it's more of an album-length exploration of mood, or a collection of self-contained songs, than it is a flowing, conceptual, capital-A album. And that's one of its biggest strengths-London Grammar is a band whose songs all sound like pristine studio creations, little epics whose instrumental character serves as landscape to Reid's emotional exploration. Most of the songs on Truth would be perfect as the centerpiece to a romantic mixtape, especially when taking in the way Truth's lyrics so thoughtfully and thoroughly examine romantic feeling.

Of course, at 14 tracks and over an hour long, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing suffers some of the pitfalls of the long pop album. There is some filler, particularly around the middle. "Non Believer," one of the occasional dalliances with adjacent subgenres (dark synth-pop, in this case) lands clumsily. However, the trio is better than ever at their signature sound: the lush ballad. From the immaculate, orchestrated opener "Rooting for You," to the extended slow build of "Hell to the Liars" and the floating, ethereal title track, it's clear Reid is aware of her strengths, and her bandmates Dominic Major and Dan Rothman effortlessly fall in line. This is a daunting collection of dream-pop balladry, but it is top-notch. (www.londongrammar.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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